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The snow was twirling around in the cold December air like there was no tomorrow as I walked to my job at Brooke’s Grocery. Don’t laugh. I was short on money two months ago, and the antics that go on in that super store have grown on me. Like the giant pillow fort from last week and the line of dominoes that went around the whole store on my first day.

“Jules. What the hell are you doing walking in the snow?” Charlie, the store manager and secret mastermind of all of our employee schemes, said when I walked in. He had a rubber chicken and large roll of duck tape in his hand. God only knows what he’s planning to do next.

I shrugged and shook the snowflakes off and threw my sweatshirt behind my register. “I like walking?”

“Right. Well. We’re a bit empty again today. No one likes Brooke’s these days...” he said, with a genuinely upset look on his face.
“I wonder why...” I muttered, shaking out my deep red mane of curls. Thank God I didn’t inherit freckles with this hair.

He glared at me, squeezing the chicken. “Just for that, you get to help the skinny blond kid who’s lurking around the store. It’s like he’s never set foot in a human civilization before. He keeps walking up and down every aisle picking everything up and then setting it down like it’s poison.”

I followed his stare to a tall, extremely pale kid with bleach blond hair was stalking the refrigerated section nearest to the registers. He had a smug look on his face and was constantly looking over his shoulder.

What’s shoved up his ass?

“I hate you,” I mumbled to Charlie who was grinning with delight.

The boys eyes grew large and his mouth grew thin as I walked towards him slowly. It looked as if he didn’t want me coming near him.

“Hello, welcome to Brooke’s. Can I help you find anything?” I said with my fakest, cheeriest, sugar coated, standard greeting Charlie has us say.

Random ass pale creeper comes in and wastes my time.

He took in a deep breath before talking in a British accent. “I was wondering if you.. had a... Snugger? Or whatever the bloody hell that blanket thing is.” He looked like he was going to barf. Brit’s face was growing paler by the minute.

I almost snorted with laughter. “A Snuggie? Yeah... Follow me, please.”

He reluctantly started walking behind me a good ten paces behind me. Ass wipe? I think so.

“So what brings you to my neck of the woods?” I asked casually, trying to lighten the mood.

“Your what?” he hissed.

“America. Why are you in America?” I asked, dropping the happy voice.

He sighed. “Family.”

“Oh. Well. Have fun, I guess.”

No thanks from Blondie.

When we got to the Snuggie section, I pointed out his choices. “You could get the blue one, the pink one, there’s zebra print, and also cheetah.”

He closed his eyes and swallowed hard. “Does it honestly look like I care what print I have on this stupid blanket? Just give me one.”

I raised my eyebrows and tapped my foot.

“Did you not here what I just said, muggle?” he asked, with disgust in his voice. “I said give me one.” His eyes didn’t meet mine, but it looked as though they had gotten darker.

“Hey,” I shot. He looked down into my eyes with an eyebrow raised just like mine. “I did not wake up at 10 in the morning on a Saturday and walk here from my house in the snow just to come here and get bossed around by some creepy pale little shit who can’t stand being in this store, and probably this country. So I would strongly suggest you take that crap attitude of yours and shove it up your pale ass and keep it there until you leave this country and never ever see me again.”

He raised his other eyebrow as if he wanted to challenge me.

“You raise your eyebrows all you want, I don’t really care.”

He sneered at me and forcefully grabbed the closest snuggie, one with zebra print, and started walking to the registers.

After creepy pale kid bought his Snuggie, which by the way was one of the funniest things I’d ever seen because of his lack of American currency knowledge and odd hatred for me, he finally walked out the doors into the snowy wonderland.

“I think I deserve a pay raise for dealing with him,” I told Charlie, who was smirking from his place at Register 2.

He just laughed and shook his head, taking a drink from the giant red slushie he was holding.

“You’re so evil,” I cried.

“You’re such a newbie. Although I admit, he was one of the weirder ones, he wasn’t as bad as some of the people that walk through these glorious motion sensing doors,” he said with such pride. He offered me some slurpie.

I made a face, which he in turn gave me a look of depression. “Sorry. Slurpies ain’t my thing. And remember the time I had to deal with that awful family? The dad was gigantic, and so was his son, but the mom was mad skinny and pissed off looking. Her face was so... horse-like. They still haunt me. And they were from England, too! I’m so not a newbie.”

“Please. At least you didn’t have to deal with these guys in black robes with the hoods up. They all were really creepy. And... come to think of it... British...” he smiled.

“Damn Brits,” I muttered.

He laughed and finished the last of his nasty corn sugary red drink. I watched him as he threw it in to the garbage can and screamed with delight as he got it in.

“How did you become manager?” I asked him, watching him as he gazed longingly at the door. No one had entered all day except for the blonde freak.

“Hard work and dedication,” he sighed, balancing a pencil on his lip. “No one’s coming in.”

“I’ve noticed,” I mumbled. “Only someone stupid would want to go to Brooke’s on a day like this.”

“The customer is never stupid,” Charlie said, swiping the pencil off and glaring at me.

“You’re right. The manager is,” I laughed.

He rolled his eyes and stuck out his tongue. “You can leave now. I was thinking of closing up for the day. Or at least having newbie cashier Dan come and fill in. I’m not feeling up to being a mighty manager today.”

“Charlie, are you okay?” I asked him, with a smile forming on my lips.

Did I really just walk all the way here to be told to go home?

He laughed. “Am I ever okay?”

I laughed and thought better than to answer that truthfully.

“Tomorrow, though, you will be here on time, and you will stay until your shift is over. Then help clean up,” he grinned.

“You take your powers too far, sometimes.”

“Having power brings the worst out in every man,” he shrugged. “Now go. Your lack of ‘Brooke’s Pride’ is getting to me.”

I pretended to be crushed for the sake of seeing his ‘I-think-I’m-awesome-for-doing-that-but-really-I’ve-just-been-played-and-I’m-completely-oblivious-to-it’ look. “Wow, thanks Charlie for throwing me out on the curb.”

He smiled wide and waved cheerfully. “Love you!”

“Yeah, yeah,” I mumbled, grabbing my sweatshirt and heading out.

Walking out into the cold was something I really did not want to do, especially because of my lack of proper cold weather gear. I was contemplating on calling my brother, who was home from college for Christmas break, and having me pick him up, but I shoved my phone back into my pocket when I saw creepy pale kid standing there in the snow, looking terribly confused.

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